Frank Nolin and New Equipment

Frank Nolin has made a huge contribution to MFK’s peanut processing technology.  His donation of a sorting table and drying equipment will allow MFK to process Haitian peanuts faster and more effectively, allowing us to purchase more peanuts and reduce our costs considerably.

Donald Chase and Frank Nolin are old friends.  Donald is the president of the Georgia Peanut Commission and a peanut farmer, whose yields are usually double the state average. Donald visited MFK in Haiti with the most recent visit from the PCRSP group. He saw the need for a peanut sorting table and since he had bought one for his kids that was not being used, he shipped it to Frank who cleaned it up and practically rebuilt the entire thing. Frank adapted the sorter table with a hopper, a feeder, and a peanut splitter that helps determine if the peanuts are contaminated. Even if a camera had been available when we first turned on the variable speed vibrating sorting table, it could not have captured the expressions from MFKs peanut processing staff as peanuts magically slid by.

Frank is the former owner of Nolin Steel, a company founded by his father and now owned by his son. Nolin Steel manufactures all types of equipment, and specializes in equipment for peanuts. Frank designed and built the drier with suggestions from Dr. Chris Butts, the main agriculture engineer at the United States Department of Agriculture research station in Griffon, GA.

It’s a prototype for developing country settings, where energy is very expensive. The blower motor is very small and consumes very little power.  It uses as much solar energy as possible to create heat and is assisted with a propane burner and thermostat, similar to what is used in the US.  The most important aspect of drying peanuts and other crops is the air movement rather than the temperature, as high temperatures cause problems.